The Slovenia Times

Entrepreneurial Spirit



The participants of the conference, titled "Business Game Changers & What You Need to Know" were addressed by Slovenia's Prime Minister, Borut Pahor. In his speech Pahor acknowledged that Slovenia's exports fell considerably in the economic crisis, but added the country is now witnessing a new momentum, boosting economic growth.

"Slovenia is aware of the necessity to boost the competitiveness of our economy," Pahor stressed, adding that a strategic goal was to remain in a monetary union with France and Germany.

Pahor - who normally voices strong optimism over the country's economic situation and recovery from the crisis - pointed out that Slovenia was "too small to be over-optimistic" and too small to finance its own development, so it needs foreign investments.

He added that the state would be selling off many of its stakes in companies, as he believes the government needs to do everything it can to boost economic growth and competitiveness.

Reason for pride

Igor Plestanjak, the director of Slovenia's Public Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI), added that Slovenia does not have many foreign investments because it did not sell large companies. However, he pointed out that the country has managed to keep foreign investments at the same level in the three crisis years, which he argues is something to be proud of given the circumstances. And Plestanjak emphasised that a third of foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2010 were in the field of research and development, which is a remarkable result for the country's recognisability.

By increasing salaries in 2008 and 2009, Slovenia entered the world of developed countries and is now fighting different wars than before, Plestanjak noted, adding that this has increased unemployment somewhat. The employment of quality work force has grown, however.

The right focus

Conference attendees were also treated to a speech by Rohit Talwar, one of the ten most prominent global futurists. He reminded the entrepreneurs that they are the driving force of the economy.

"First and foremost we have to go where the money is," Talwar said. "We must choose the right group of trainers and consultants who will be able to guide us. It is crucial that we are seen in public; that partners and potential partners know who we are. In addition to visibility, attraction is extremely important; we have to be the magnet that will draw business opportunities. In short, we have to play to win."

New trends

Participants also had the opportunity to learn about new business models, consumer trends, technology, new opportunities and changes in the way business is conducted from professionals like Sandi Češko (Studio Moderna), Villu Arak (Hill & Knowlton, Estonia), Ives Decraene (IDPoint DigitalMedia SA, Belgium/Luxemburg) and Robert Kwiatkowski (Warsaw Stock Exchange).

In contrast to Talwar, Češko argued that entrepreneurs should focus on where the problems are, rather than on money. Talwar countered that addressing problems is not enough since there is no guarantee that solving an issue will bring in revenue - not least because some companies or industries may not have the finance required to resolve their problem. However, both Talwar and Češko agreed that is important for start-ups to remain visible by different means such as attending conferences, advertising and so on.
By the conclusion it was clear that the event had met its goal, as stated by director of CEED Slovenia Barbara Bregar-Mrzlikar: "The purpose of this conference is to expand business horizons, gain inspiration for new business ideas and motivation to learn something new, and to get know new people and potential partners." The different views and different success stories presented at the conference were not only interesting to listen to but also a good educational tool for those seeking advice.


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